No reply from US to NATO demands – Russia
Russia is still waiting for Washington’s reply to security proposals that the Kremlin submitted last week, which outlined demands about limits to NATO expansion and troop deployment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists on Monday that American authorities have not yet officially responded to the proposals, two different versions of which were sent to NATO and to the US last week.
“No, they haven’t answered yet, we’re waiting,” he replied, when asked about the status of the documents. “For now, we’re only seeing all sorts of public statements, mostly not by Americans. These are also important. The main thing, of course, is what Washington will have to say.”
Ryabkov said that he expected the Americans to be cooperative and open to dialogue, but that they might drag out negotiations that Moscow considers urgent. “I think they will try to turn this all into a protracted process, while we need this now, because the situation is critical and has a tendency to get even more difficult,” he explained.
The diplomat added that the Kremlin had not yet decided whether it would pull out of a moratorium on short-range missiles in Europe, should the US and NATO not accept the proposed agreements. “They’re connected with each other,” he explained. “We haven’t decided in favor of withdrawing from the moratorium. On the contrary, the moratorium is ongoing, and it was adopted as a measure that will stay in place until the moment when or if American systems are deployed.”
Last Friday, Russian officials publicly shared drafts of proposals they had sent to Washington and NATO, which Moscow says are designed to increase the security of all parties involved. The documents call for the US-led military bloc to agree not to station armed forces in European countries that were not members of the bloc in 1997, which would exclude former Warsaw Pact countries.
Russia is also asking for written guarantees that NATO will not expand any further into former Soviet countries, including Ukraine, which has long held ambitions to join the organization. The request comes amid heightened tensions on the border between the two countries, with Kiev and Washington reporting that they suspect a possible Russian invasion of its neighbor in the near future, an accusation that Moscow has repeatedly denied.